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Major King demolition job in Class 3 sprint

August 3, 2023 at 5:08:03 AM

Jockey Manoel Nunes pulled the right rein both metaphorically and literally after the progressive Major King scored in the $70,000 Class 3 race over 1000m on Sunday.

Jockey Manoel Nunes pulled the right rein both metaphorically and literally after the progressive Major King scored in the $70,000 Class 3 race over 1000m on Sunday.

Sent out as the well-backed $10 favourite in a competitive field, Major King pinged the gates on jumping. Nunes, however, was more than happy to allow the speedster Sun Ops (Jerlyn Seow) to cross and lead into the corner.

In a strung-out field, Major King had stablemate Akhtar (Simon Kok Wei Hoong) for company on his outside, while Gold Ten Sixty-One (Bruno Queiroz) stayed handy in fourth at the bend.

Into the straight, Sun Ops continued at a breakneck pace to put lengths on the chasing pack before hitting the proverbial wall at the 250m. Major King, who was on the rails, and Akhtar to his outside began to make their runs together.

Nunes knew Sun Ops was stopping quickly in front of him, so he made sure Major King had clean air when he pushed the button at the 200m. The race was over in a heartbeat with the four-year-old son of Per Incanto kicking lengths clear of the opposition in a matter of strides.

Eased down late, Major King won by an impressive three-and-a-quarters length over Gold Ten Sixty-One, while Akhtar faded late to finish another one-and-three-quarters length back in third.

The winning time was a fast 58.32secs for the 1000m on the Polytrack. Major King's fourth win in eight starts took his earnings to close to $160,000 for the Happy Baby Stable.

Winning trainer Jason Ong was not only impressed by the win but is looking forward to a possible run in the Group 3 Rocket Man Sprint (1200m) next Sunday.

"I think things went our way today and he won very well," said Ong, who took home another winner in Opunake ($11) in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 2 race (1000m) eight races earlier.

"We had some luck with barrier one – that was a plus – but he had to jump well from the inside gate, which he did.

"When he was close enough in the running, I knew he would be good enough to win, but that was a very good turn of foot from him.

"We nominated him for the Rocket Man Sprint as he will get in with a light weight, but obviously we will have a look at how he pulls up tomorrow before making a decision."

The Rocket Man Sprint is the second Leg of the newly-named STC Super Sprint Series. Mr Malek won the first Leg, the Group 3 Kranji Sprint (1200m) on June 3, while the third and final Leg will be the Group 1 Lion City Cup (1200m) held on August 27.

Of the call to have Nunes ride Major King over Akhtar, Ong said it was a no-brainer given where the two horses were in their respective preparations.

"Major King has always been a tough horse to train as he's a thinker," explained Ong.

"So Nunes knew him better than anyone – in work and races – so it was important to have him on today. I think his knowledge of the horse was critical for the win.

"Akhtar was only having his second run in Singapore and has a lot of upsides. He was good today, so I'm happy with both horses."

Nunes – who earlier rode Roman Chief (see previous report) to win the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1400m – was surprised at the ease of the victory but knew Major King was hard to beat if things went their way.

"He's a lovely horse but I was concerned about the 1000m being too sharp," said the Brazilian hoop.

"But he jumped well to make use of the inside barrier and with the good speed on early, he was going to be hard to beat.

"In saying that, he won very easily which surprised me a little, but he has always shown ability.

"Credit to Jason and his team. The horse looked stunning before the race. I think he had some issues early in his career, but he's improved a lot. He's flying now."

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